Court orders firm to pay employee N.2m Medical expenses within 30 days

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The Presiding Judge, Kaduna Judicial division of the National Industrial Court, His Lordship, Hon. Justice Sinmisola Adeniyi has ordered China Zhonghao ltd to pay Daniel Goje the sum of Two Hundred and Thirty-Four Thousand, and Five Hundred Naira medical expenses, Nine Hundred and Sixty-Eight Thousand Naira only being unpaid salaries from August 2016 till February 2021 within 30 days.

The Court held that firm failed to prove that it has a policy or document in place for its staff to make an official report for it to be liable for reimbursement or refunds of hospital bills, dismissed Ten Million Naira damages claim for lacking merit.

From facts, the claimant – Daniel Goje had submitted that he sustained grievous injuries which allegedly occurred while performing his duties and was rushed to a general hospital that the firm failed to pay for his medical bills, compensation for the injuries sustained and payment of his outstanding salaries.

In defence, the firm contended that the Daniel was employed on a casual basis and had been paid all outstanding monies due to him, denied liability for compensation for the injury, and outstanding salary being claimed by the Claimant.

The firm counsel Abdulahi Yahya SAN further alleged that the responsibility of the Claimant did not include re-fuelling of the Company’s generator; that Defendant took the claimant to the hospital and gave money on the compassionate ground towards his medical treatment, also that Daniel has ceased being its employee from the date he was discharged from the hospital without its knowledge.

In opposition, the learned Claimant’s counsel S. U. Ugo Esq. submitted that the firm owed his client a duty of care against any kind of occupational hazard while in the Defendant’s employment, that Claimant has established his entitlement to be reimbursed for the medical expenses incurred.

Delivering the Judgment, the Presiding Judge, Justice Sinmisola Adeniyi held that the firm, being the employer owes the Claimant a duty of care and further that the evidence proffered by the claimant on breach of duty of care by the firm is hearsay and inadmissible.

“In the same regard, in prove of the Claimant’s claim for the medical expenses, Exhibit C5 was admitted in evidence. It is the receipt of payment of treatment of the Claimant at God’s Favour Natural Herbs Centre.

“I have a firm view that the Defendant also has the onus to prove that by its policy or document, it is only duty-bound or it has the obligation to pay the workers who either made an official report of their being discharged from the hospital or obtained its consent before being discharged. The Defendant failed to discharge this burden.” Justice Adeniyi

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